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HP Spectre x360 15 review: The best gets bigger

With a 4K display, pen and all-metal body, can HP strike twice with the larger Spectre x360 15? You bet.

Windows Central Recommended Award

Last year, HP released its revamped Spectre x360 13-inch Ultrabook with accolades all around. I named it my favorite laptop of the year, besting the venerable Dell XPS 13. The question remained, however, if the company would apply its lessons-learned formula to the Spectre's bigger brother, the Spectre x360 15.

HP answered that question in early January at CES with the brand new — and similarly designed — Spectre x360 15-bl062nr.

The new Spectre x360 15 is bigger and heavier, but after a week with the device, I'm very impressed with HP's engineering. Here is why this laptop is the best value for your money.

About this review

The HP Spectre used here in testing is the Kaby Lake Core i7 (i7-7500) version with 16GB of RAM and 512GB of internal storage. HP provided an early review unit, and the Spectre x360 15 is expected to go on sale on February 24.

What's new

2017's changes and improvements

The Spectre x360 15 is a different beast amongst laptops. Usually, once you hit the 15-inch range, the devices start packing 45W quad-core processors with much bigger, heavier chassis. It's even rarer to find a two-in-one convertible at this size.

In that sense, the Spectre x360 15 is best thought of as a large Ultrabook. For instance, the Spectre x360 15 packs "only" a 15W dual-core processor, and while it has a dedicated NVIDIA GPU, it's more of a boost than it is for gaming graphics. (More on that below).

HP Specre 15

HP Specre 15 (Image credit: Windows Central)

HP kept the display to only 4K instead of offering two versions (Full HD and 4K). The reason for that choice is consumers overall preferred the 4K variant with one caveat. They wanted the battery life of the Full HD version. That initiated the second change: a larger battery. By putting in a 79-WHr battery, HP bucked a trend and made the 2017 Spectre slightly thicker than last year's model. That's a bold move but absolutely the right one. (The laptop is still just 0.70 inches (17.78 mm) thin.)

HP Spectre x360 15

There is also the massive reduction in the display's bezel, something that HP says a whopping 97 percent of customers wanted. The result is this year's Spectre has bezels that are 70 percent thinner than last year's model, coming in at just 4.65mm. The overall design language mirrors the smaller 13-inch variant, with the only other change being the color, a dark ash instead of silver.

Packed to the brim

HP Spectre x360 15 specifications

CategoryHP Spectre x360 15
ProcessorIntel Core i7-7500U 7th-gen (Kaby Lake)
2.7GHz base, up to 3.5GHz Turbo
Internal storageUp to 1TB PCIe SSD
RAM8GB or 16GB
DDR4 (2 DIMM)
Display15.6" 4K (3840x2160)
Touch and pen enabled
72% Adobe color gamut; 282 PPI
340 nits brightness
Direct bonded IPS
GraphicsNVIDIA GeForce 940MX
2GB DDR5 VRAM
Ports1x USB-A 3.1
3.5mm jack
Full SD card
2x USB-C (1x Thunderbolt 3; 1x USB-C 3.1)
1x HDMI 2.0
CameraFront-facing HP TrueVision FHD IR webcam with integrated dual-array digital microphones
Windows Hello enabled
88-degree, wide-angle field of view
Wireless2x2 802.11ac WLAN
Bluetooth 4.2
Battery79.2 WHr
90W AC fast-charge adapter
Weight4.42lbs (2kg)
Dimensions0.70" (H) x 14.00" (W) x 9.88" (D)
17.78 mm (H) x 355.6 mm (W) x 253.49 mm (D)
ColorHP finish in dark ash silver
AudioBang & Olufsen with dual speakers
Active PenYes, included in box

An all-metal beauty

HP Spectre x360 design

The 15-inch Spectre is very similar in design to the 13-inch version, just bigger. That's a good thing, too, because HP found, in my opinion, the sweet spot between form and function.

The HP Spectre x360 15 is made from CNC machined aluminum, and it's outstanding. The all-metal feel makes it rather heavy at 4.42lbs (2kg), but that just adds to the quality feel. It's a dense beast that very much mimics the beautiful qualities of Apple's devices. Nonetheless, HP maintains a very distinct look with the Spectre x360 series, and no one will mistake it for a MacBook Pro.

Unlike the 13-inch version, the 15 is offered in "dark ash silver." To my eyes, it looks like black and copper, but there is a subtle distinction. It is not quite that black but more ash. While the all-silver 13 looks great, I think dark ash silver offers a very handsome, professional look. This was an excellent color choice by HP, especially with those contrasting polished edges. I think the Spectre x360 is by far one of the nicest looking and quality feeling Windows laptops, even besting Microsoft's Surface series. (Yes, I just wrote that.).

One slight downside of the dark ash silver is it is slightly prone to collecting fingerprints, but it is not nearly as bad as the Razer Blades of the world.

You still can't open this laptop with one hand, however, because you need some help holding down the base.

My only real gripe with this laptop is a small one. Due to the x360 hinge that lets you turn the device into a tablet, you can shake the laptop until the display slips down on its hinge. To be clear, this doesn't happen when typing in your lap, but it's an apparent side effect of having a large, 15.6-inch touch display with an aluminum chassis. I'm not sure how you engineer around that, as the hinge needs to be flexible enough to switch to tent, presentation and tablet modes without much force.

Overall, while the Spectre x360 15 is one of the heavier 15.6-inch laptops that's not quad-core, its outstanding build quality, machined body, and elegant color choice makes this notebook feel substantial and worth every dollar. It's just outstanding.

4K glory

HP Spectre x360 15 display

The argument over the need for 4K displays in laptops won't end anytime soon, but no one can deny that they look great. The real concerns are impacts on performance and battery life.

The 4K (3840 x 2160) IPS display HP uses in the Spectre x360 15 is a different class than Sharp IGZO display found in Dell's XPS line. That's not a knock. I like this display panel in the Spectre x360 15. The colors are not overly vibrant, and while the screen is glossy, I didn't find reflections too bothersome.

HP also says the display is non-PenTile and features Panel Self Refresh technology. PenTile screens have had mixed reactions, with some hating the subpixel layout with noticeable grain and other distractions. Luckily, those criticisms do not apply here as non-PenTile is smoother and clearer. Panel Self Refresh technology helps save power when viewing static images. Both are neat to have, and display nerds will likely welcome them.

The brightness is OK. HP claim 340 nits, which is enough for indoor use under bright lights. Users will struggle outdoors, though, with reflections and the lack of more power. Companies such as Samsung add "outdoor modes" with displays peaking at 500 nits for short periods. I had no issue with general use. The display also gets dim enough to be used comfortably in a dark bedroom without flooding the room with light and waking a spouse.

HP's 4K display is one of the most natural, easy-on-the-eyes 4K panels I have used. Color accuracy, rated at 72% Adobe, is not the highest but it is more than fine for most professionals. The look of this screen is the opposite of AMOLED and other technologies that offer high contrast at the expense of looking fake. I sometimes find Dell's IGZO 4K overwhelming, but I did not have such a problem here.

Inking is here

HP Spectre x360 15 pen

When HP released the Spectre x360 13 last year, many people asked about the missing Active-Pen support. There is no such confusion with the 15-inch version. The Spectre x360 15 comes with a very nice Active Pen. There is no slot in the laptop to carry the pen but HP threw in an excellent leather-ish sleeve to protect the laptop and hold the pen.

To be clear, the Active Pen takes a battery (one AAAA cell), it does not rely on Bluetooth, and the display detects the pen when hovering and not only direct contact (like a passive stylus). There is no pairing required. You just put in the battery and begin writing on the display.

The pen has two buttons, both of which are configurable using HP's pen app that runs in the taskbar.

HP's pen feels a lot like Microsoft's Surface Pen. Both are metal-ish and while the Surface Pen is heavier at 22g, compared to the 17g for HP's pen, the balance and diameter are very similar. I applaud HP for that choice. It's a splendid pen, especially because it's included with the laptop. Although, I am scratching my head as to why HP's pen has a silver accent instead of a laptop-matching copper one.

Microsoft Surface Pen (top) vs HP Active Pen (bottom)

Microsoft Surface Pen (top) vs HP Active Pen (bottom)

Being able to flip the Spectre x360 into tablet mode and use the pen, or just use it on the display to navigate, use Stick Notes or draw, is a great option to have. It works well. I'm not an artist, but I can't say it felt radically different from use on the Surface.

HP also says the Spectre x360 15 will work with the forthcoming N-Trig Universal Pen, which should work on Wacom tablets and all Windows products that use a stylus. So you'll likely have even more options later this year when that device is released.

A typing delight

HP Spectre x360 15 keyboard

The Spectre x360 15's keyboard is even better than the 13-inch version's keypad. You get the same 1.5mm of key travel, but because the keys are now ash silver you get much better contrast with the backlit chicklet keys.

HP spent a lot of time on the so-called "force curves" of each key, or how the keys feel when you push them down, as well as on the return. Ideally, the keys bounce back at the same rate as your fingers leave them. If it's too fast the key pushes your finger, too slow and the key feels stuck. Whatever the company did, it worked. HP also ensured that each key feels the same, for consistency.

The Spectre x360 15's keyboard is likely my favorite keyboard on any laptop. It's outstanding. There's no flex on the body when typing on a desk, and it is just a satisfying experience.

I will, however, raise one possible issue: the Home key. HP put the Home-key row to the right of the keyboard, running down vertically. That means the Home key is to the right of the Backspace key. While I had no issues with this setup when typing, a few friends of mine hit the Home key instead of Backspace repeatedly. Lenovo did something similar years ago, and that did bother me because the Backspace key was also regular sized. HP's is double-wide, which is why it's not a problem for me. That and you must stretch your pinky to reach the Home key. If you're sensitive to such changes, however, it may take you some time to adjust. I type at a brisk 75 words per minute, and with a proper typing position, the key placement is just fine.

Still not "Precision" but also not bad

HP Spectre x360 15 trackpad

HP opted for a very spacious layout for the trackpad, which is preferred especially once you enlarge the right-click area under Settings. It's a very smooth, satisfying trackpad with adequate clicking that won't annoy you each time you use it in a quiet room.

The copper trim looks great, and it serves as an excellent peripheral guide when looking for the trackpad.

My beef with the trackpad is the same Why-not-Precision? an argument I made with the 13-inch Spectre. HP uses Synaptics hardware, which is fantastic, but it also chose to enable Synaptics software for the trackpad configuration. While you can configure plenty of gestures, clicks, speed, scrolling and more, it's not quite as smooth as a Microsoft-tuned Precision version.

To be clear, HP could use the same hardware but enable Precision software instead. (Synaptics can do both, and the choice is up to the manufacturer.) The result is some Windows 10 gestures, such as the three-finger swipe, often have delays or don't register at times. While I never experienced issues with Precision, I saw quirks with the Synaptics software.

Nonetheless, despite my snobbery over Precision versus Synaptics, it is still a superb trackpad one. In the future, HP could let customers decide which setup to use, as it already does on some of its business lines.

Dual power

HP Spectre x360 15 audio

Unlike the 13-inch Spectre, the 15-inch version only has two speakers instead of four. Those extra speakers allowed for high-quality audio when in tablet mode. The 15, however, opts for just two but they are discretely amped and larger than on the 13. They are also placed on the left and right sides of the keyboard and fire upwards.

As usual, HP has had these speakers tuned by Bang & Olufsen, and they come with equalizer software for further configuration by the user, for specific modes such as music and movies. HP also include an audio switch app that lets you change quickly between internal and external speakers, headphones and microphones.

One small bug is present, however. Occasionally, when scrolling with two-fingers on the trackpad I can hear a faint audible buzz coming from the speakers. For context, you would need to have your ear placed near the speaker to hear it or be in an exceptionally quiet room. To me, this falls into coil whine territory where some people are very sensitive to it while others are not.

Overall, the speakers are nice, though I find them to be very "crispy." While they can get thunderous, I do wish there were some more bass and richness to the audio to make it perfect.

Well hello, Windows Hello

HP Spectre x360 15 camera

The front-facing web camera is one of the better ones I have used on a laptop. It's full HD and wide-angle making it ideal for conference calls or just a Skype chat. HP kept the camera on the top bezel, giving it a standard-looking view.

Like the 13-inch version, the 15-inch features two IR cameras that can be used with Windows Hello, which lets you log into Windows 10 using just your face. It's exceptionally fast and accurate though you may have to fine tune it for use in different lighting conditions.

HP Spectre x360 benchmarks

Performance-wise, the Spectre x360 15 holds its own. Since the dual-core i7-7500U is the same found in the 13-inch version, performance is nearly identical using Geekbench 4.0.

Geekbench 4.0 benchmarks (Higher is better)

DeviceSingle CoreDual Core
Surface Studio4,20013,323
Razer Blade 143,77412,638
XPS 13 (9360) Core i74,1207,829
Spectre x360 13"4,1007,469
Spectre x360 15"4,0988,022
Apple MBP 13 (2016)4,0277,802
Surface Book Core i73,9487,415

For traditional computing, the Spectre x360 15 is on par with other Kaby Lake Ultrabooks on the market. Where things get more interesting is when we turn to more GPU-intensive tasks, such as CUDA scores.

Geekbench 4.0 CUDA (Higher is better)

DeviceScore
Razer Blade 14 GTX 1060139,603
Surface Book GTX 965M63,029
Surface Studio GTX 965M53,685
Spectre x360 15"28,868

Compared to other devices with dedicated GPUs from NVIDIA, the Spectre's CUDA scores are low, but that is expected with the 940MX because it's an older, lighter chip. OpenCL gives a better comparison with similar Ultrabooks that lack dedicated GPUs.

Geekbench 4.0 Graphics OpenCL (Higher is better)

CategoryScore
Surface Book GTX 965M64,108
Apple MBP 13 (2016; Iris Pro)31,022
HP Spectre x360 1528,868
XPS 13 (9350) Iris26,436
XPS 13 (9360) HD62019,410
Surface Book HD52018,197

Here you can see the benefit of the NVIDIA 940MX. Its performance is very like Intel's Skylake-era Iris Pro graphics. My hunch is HP would have used Iris or Iris Pro in the Spectre x360 15 too, but that variant from Intel for Kaby Lake is not yet on the open market. HP likely wanted to release this laptop sooner than later so it tossed in a comparable performing 940MX as a substitute.

Looking at PCMark using Home Conventional 3.0, the Spectre x360 15 gets a score of 2,472 and is rated better than 41 percent of all results, slightly edging out the notebook average. That test is more about the CPU and overall performance than graphics.

PCMark (Home Conventional 3.0)

DeviceScoreComparison
Surface Studio 980M3,281Better than 67 percent of all results
Spectre x360 152,472Better than 41 percent of all results

Using 3DMark Cloud Gate, which is ideal for most consumer-level PCs and laptops, the Spectre gets a reasonable 8,185 making it "better than 28 percent of all results" in that category.

Turning things up to the extreme is 3DMark Time Spy (DirectX 12), which is reserved for gaming rigs, desktop PCs, VR-enabled computers and anything considered high-end. As you'd expect, the 940MX does not do well here.

3DMark (Time Spy)

DeviceScoreComparison
Razer Blade Pro 10805,591Better than 71 percent of all results
Surface Studio 980M2,862Better than 16 percent of all results
Surface Studio 965M1,531Better than 7 percent of all results
Spectre x360 15613Better than 1 percent of all results

For casual gaming, the Spectre x360 15 does just fine. I had no issue playing Pinball FX2 with high graphics for instance. More intense but still casual games such as Killer Instinct and ReCore, are also perfectly playable with high framerates and medium-to-high graphics, if you tune it down to 720p resolution. That may sound bad, but 720p upscaled on a beautiful 4K display still looks darn good.

The bottom line is the NVIDIA 940MX is there to help with those 4K graphics when using Office, the web and any Windows apps. While it will help with gaming this laptop is not advertised as, nor should it be thought of as, a gaming laptop .

Finally, the Spectre x360 15 sports a Toshiba THNSN5xxxGPUK NVMe SSD in 256GB and 512GB versions. It's not clear what HP will use for 1TB drives, as those have not shipped yet. As far as SSDs go, they are PCIe, which is good. But they are not the fastest on the market.

CrystalDiskMark (Higher is better)

DeviceReadWrite
Razer Blade Pro2,571 MB/s2,467 MB/s
Razer Blade (960 EVO)2,079 MB/s1,809 MB/s
MacBook Pro 13 (2016)1,549 MB/s1,621 MB/s
Spectre x3601,332 MB/s589 MB/s
Surface Studio1,327 MB/s512 MB/s
XPS 13 (9360)1,287 MB/s794 MB/s
HP Spectre x360 151,128 MB/s862 MB/s
Surface Book1,018 MB/s967 MB/s

The drive seems to be user-replaceable, however, though it is a bit tricky to change. In usage, the SSD performed quite well, so it's probably best to not get fixated too much on the numbers. Just know there are much faster, albeit expensive, storage options available.

More room, less noise

HP Spectre x360 15 heat and fan noise

The 15-inch Spectre x360 has two fans located on each side of the laptop for cooling. That means there are now two vent grills on the sides instead of one, as with the 13-inch version.

Because of those two fans and more room to work with, the cooling is significantly better and quieter. Some people have observed that the fan on the 13-inch kicks in even when it's idle, that is not the case with the 15-inch version.

Under heavy load the Spectre x360 15 never gets above 111℉ (44°C)

Under heavy load the Spectre x360 15 never gets above 111℉ (44°C)

Using an IR camera, temperatures under load from ten minutes of gaming peaked at 111℉ (44°C) directly out of the vents. The laptop itself only got warm near the top (above the keyboard), and there it never went above 100℉ (38°C).

Under regular usage (web browser or watching videos), the laptop's hottest spot was around 81℉ (27°C). Overall, this is a well-cooled machine, and it is comfortable to use in most scenarios, even under heavy load.

All day and quick charging

HP Spectre x360 15 battery life

HP put a large, 79WHr battery in the new Spectre x360 15 so that with a 4K panel it can still match the battery life of last year's Full-HD version. Using a closed-loop video test, HP pushed 12.75 hours of battery. Of course, a video loop test is not real world use, which is tougher to measure, especially if you're using the dedicated GPU. In my experience, the laptop lasted at least six hours but often pushed eight.

That may not sound super impressive, but we are talking 16GB of RAM, Core i7 and a dedicated GPU, all driving a 15.6-inch 4K panel. I think that eight-hour mark is the sweet spot, and most people should be OK with that.

HP includes a beefy 90W USB Type-C charger in the box. That's a bigger charger than the one that comes with the 13-inch, which is only 45W, resulting in quicker charges. The included fast-charge ability means you should get around a 50 percent charge in 30 minutes, or from 0 percent to 90 percent in about 90 minutes.

Battery life can always be better, but I was content with what I got out of the 15-inch Spectre x360.

USB-C and USB-A?!

HP Spectre x360 15 ports

HP includes two USB 3.1 Type-C Gen 2 ports on the right of the device. Both ports can handle "HP Sleep and Charge, " and one of them is Thunderbolt 3, with no compromises. There is also a full HDMI 2.0 port for video out if Thunderbolt 3 is not used.

On the left side, there is a standard USB 3.1 Gen 1 (Type-A) for legacy users. HP also squeezed in a full SD card reader. That SD slot lets you squeeze in the entire card, too, instead of having to leave it out halfway, like some other laptops.

There is also a power button, audio headphone jack and volume rocker for use in tablet mode on the sides. Overall, HP did a great job here giving everyone a little of everything.

Is the HP Spectre x360 15 the perfect all-around laptop?

While there are more powerful 15-inch laptops on the market, especially ones that feature quad-core processors and beefier GPUs, the HP Spectre x360 15 may be the best all-around laptop yet. I say that for a few reasons, including overall design, build quality, typing, display, battery and performance.

Furthermore, while there are quad-core laptops none of them also double as tablets or offer an Active Pen in the box for notetaking. That's a huge advantage, and it puts the Spectre x360 15 in a class all its own.

Perhaps the top reason why I love the Spectre x360 15 is the same reason I loved the 13-inch: value. The version tested here comes with 16GB of RAM, 512GB of Storage, Core i7, and a 4K touch display, with a pen, all for $1,499. As HP notes, that's nearly a grand less than a MacBook Pro (which is admittedly a different machine in many ways.)

If you want lesser specs, HP will happily sell you a Core i7 version with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage with the same 4K display for $1,279. If you want the top-end (16GB, 1TB of storage), you'll fork over a still reasonable $1,699. Those are some crazy prices for a CNC machined aluminum chassis, 4K touch display, and a small-but-efficient GPU. I'm not sure what other devices out there can do all that the Spectre x360 15 can at this size and for that price.

As I noted in my review of the 13-inch model, HP has created a very well balanced PC that has something for everyone. Sure, the trackpad and speakers could be a bit better, but these are minor complaints. The overall experience is excellent, and that's what matters.

Toss in Fast Charge, Windows Hello IR camera, an Active Pen and the premium design, and I think it's fair to call the Spectre x360 15 a near-perfect, all-around laptop for students, creatives and professionals. Simply put, the HP Spectre x360 15 does the most, the best — at a great value.

Pros:

  • High-quality CNC build.
  • Best keyboard experience.
  • Windows Hello with facial recognition.
  • Excellent camera placement.
  • Fantastic 4K IPS display.
  • Good battery life with fast recharge.

Cons:

  • SSD could be better.
  • Trackpad hardware is great, but the software isn't as good as Precision.
  • Not a light machine at 4.42lbs (2kg).
  • Only dual-core, strictly notebook class.

Wallpaper images used in this review are under license from Shutterstock and agsandrew. You can purchases images from his collection here (opens in new tab).

Daniel Rubino
Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

72 Comments
  • In terms of lineage, design language, product options and sheer durability, the IBM/Lenovo ThinkPad is still king of them all.
  • I agree but this is very tempting. I'm waiting for the new Yoga X1 and it's getting hard to wait. If this had a sim card slot I think I'd pull the trigger.
  • Yeah, I'm excited about new X1 devices too. I want the Carbon in white.
  • The Asus Ultrabook ?
  • not for me, I dont like HP as a brand. Had many products from them (monitors, pc, laptop and even phone) and every single device died or had a problem within the warranty period. This laptop is nothing special. You can get the same quality, HW and "better" design from Asus or Dell
  • I disagree and I've used most of these laptops. I'm also not into the whole brand loyalty/disloyalty thing. I try each laptop, judge on its own merits. Going by brand names is superficial these days and a lazy substitute for doing research on a new purchase.
  • Dell?  LOL Garbgae at best.
  • I have had the same experience with Dell with my last 3 computers for home and work.  Every one of them had one or more manufacturing defects.  Had to just send one them back after a few months as I got tired of repairs.  The Dell computer I am typing this on had faulty hard drive right out of the box and the bluetooth went out.
  • Were you buying refurbished? Were you buying in a non-premium price range? Honestly, I had premium Dell with no issues. My brother has one of the earlier hp 2-in-1's and it's the only laptop that hasn't broken down on him. He mistreats his laptops like crazy and this one is still like knew after a year. That's a new record for him.
  • My work laptops are always the higher end workstation laptops and they are always purchased brand new.  They usually sit on my desk, except when I travel a few times a year.  Maybe I have a bad string of luck with Dell right now.  Maybe they have over-cost-reduced in some areas as well.  I know several Dell people and as far as I can tell the company is run by accountants.
  • 3 cheers for the active digitizer! I do love my 2015 Spectre x360 13 in, and it has performed flawlessly for me for almost 2 years. I would not hesitate to get another Spectre when I need an upgrade. This iteration looks like it would be a good competitor with Surface Book and the Thinkpad X1 yoga, both of which cost substantially more but offer smaller/lighter configurations. It is good to have choice!
  • Oh, wow, this one now has active pen support, which I applaud. Pity the 13 inch version doesn't have one. Pretty awkward decision by HP by the way. The smaller srcreen no, the larger yes. These companies sometimes are too big and there are too many cooks.
  • "Pity the 13 inch version doesn't have one."
    True, but they do have a 4K of the 13 inch one coming soon that will support pen too.
  • That's great to hear! 4k for 13 inch seems extreme, no? Hopefully the battery will last decently long.
  • Really?! I didn't know that. Is there a date for that or at least a month release probability?
  • The 13" has 2 screen options now...1080 and 4k (both with pen support now)! Best buy already has the 13" (with pen) on their site...they are saying they will be in stores on the 10th!  I hope the 15" will be there this weekend too  (I want to compare)!!  
  • sweet notebook....Very cool indeed!
  • Does the 13 inch model supports the active pen? I know that its not included, but is it possible to buy the same pen and use it on the smaller model?  
  • 2015 version of the 13 inch model does support an active stylus, but the 2016 model does not.
  • Starting this weekend, the 13" will have the option of adding a pen for both the 1080 screen or the new 4k screen (which is in the Ash/copper color).  Best Buy just posted them today online.
  • Sweet laptop. Would you say this is a better option than a surface book
    1) i5, 8gb, 256, dGPU - Currently at 1650
    2) i7, 8gb, 256, dGPU - Currently at ~1900 on Amazon. Specs are clearly better on the HP but build quality, SSD speed and overall experience might be better on the surface book. Thoughts?
  • I posted SSD speeds of Surface Book here, they're def not better. To me, they're both very similar overall.
  • Just bought a surface book (i7) on offer for the same price of the x356 Spectre.  Hard call but I will return the Surface Book and will get the Spectre instead. In the end, it comes down to whether you want to use your laptop as a tablet or whether you prefer a larger screen for movies and multi-window-working. I am hesitant, but I am inclined towards the latter. 
  • If I get the base, is it worth shoving a 2tb Evo Pro SSD and extra 8GB RAM in myself? easy to do?  And can I run 3 external 1080 HD displays with this or do I need something beefier, I dont need it for gaming.
  • I'll be trying an SSD upgrade later this week and will take a look at the RAM.
  • Great! please run an article :)
  • Had mine for a week and a half - they are out but sold out quickly on HP's website.  I think you can CTO them over there now. It is a great machine and the review is spot on.  Came from ovr a decade of Mac use and while I don't like Windows the hardware is superb!  Only issue is that the USB-C port or charger on mine seems to be a little loose -it drops connection sometimes while plugged in and used on my lap.  It may be the nature of the beast as the cable it comes with is THICK.  Other than that I love this machine.
  • Nice, glad to hear!
  • If this had a i7 7700HQ and a GTX 1050. I'd be all over it. Im comptelplating the Dell XPS 15 9560. But want to wait to see what else comes out with the 7700HQ. 
  • Yeah, looks like HQ is 'laptop only' so far with dual-core for convertibles. You'll have to pick which side there.
  • Yes I've noticed all the 2 in 1's have 7500U cpu's. I'm torn because I need the power but love the converitble form factor. I may have to buy both. lol I wonder if they would ever fit a quad core in a 2 in 1. 
  • Let's hope the surface book/pro line changes this...
  • Nice try, but Dell XPS is still king of this hill! :-)
  • i7 7700HQ + GTX 1050 + NVME SSD =  I Agree!
  • Yes, the XPS 15 has a Better processor and GPU, but this laptop isn't supposed to compare to it. This laptop is in a totally different class. It is a 2 in 1... The XPS 15 is not. But if you really want to compare Apples to Oranges, then this Spectre15 has a REAL 40gb/s thunderbolt 3 port unlike the fake 20gb/s thunderbolt on XPS 15. Actually the Spectre15 not only has a real thunderbolt 3 port, but actually has TWO real thunderbolt 3 ports. Meaning this Spectre15 can easily run Dual 4k displays at 60hz and can transfer files faster to external SSDs. :-)
  • All accurate points. It's knee jerk to compare the XPS 15 to this and I get it, but at the end of the day, very different machines with different goals.
  • I'm getting conflicting references on this issue. according to this link ( https://www.reddit.com/r/Hewlett_Packard/comments/5qpwla/just_got_the_ne...) the 15 inch model of the x360 has the same issue. Also according to HP's website, the 15 inch version only has 1 Thunderbolt 3, and one usb c 3.1  It's confusing, because the 13 inch model has 2 thunderbolt 3 (not limited and using 4 lane pcie)
  • I was told by HP that it's a full 40GB transfer lane for that TB3 port.
  • In that thread, it looks like it "can" go up to the full 4 lanes based on one of the later HWinfo screenshot...but I'm not entirely sure either.  lol    It says that "Max link width" is 4x but is only "current link width" is at 2x (whereas the XPS 15 says shows a max and current link width of only 2x).    I wonder if it will do the full 4 lanes as long as you are not using any of the other ports??  That would be ideal since you can connect everything to the spectre using that single port via a TB3 dock (or the razer core!).  :)
  • I totally understand the difference. I am a power user and need a quad core prossor with higher TDP to run graphic intensive software. I just wish someone would combine the two. Make a 2 in 1 with XPS 15 specs. A crossover of sorts. I'm sure its possible as the xps 15 is as thin as SOME not all 2 in 1's out there. I'm probably in the minority as most content creators could care less about a 360 flip screen.  And you're right about the xps thunder bolt ports. 
  • This is the one I have been saving up for.
  • Great review man! I'll get the 2018 if they upgrade the graphics card to atleast the 965. ;)
  • I doubt hardly anyone will be using 9 series nividia cards by then. Especially not on high end lap tops above $1,000+ probably would be a 1050.
  • You'd be surprised. Hp just now got the 940 in these things, and have a 950 in their all in one that's supposed to be top of the line lol. They could have atleast put the 1050 in! I wouldn't expect much from them next year but I'd be happy if they blow me away lol.
  • This is the laptop that will probably replace my Surface Pro 3. I was looking at an XPS 15 but you get more for your money with this one. It's strange that in the benchmarks you have it up against the Surface Studio, a desktop PC that costs $3K+. If I built a desktop PC for that much, with a 27" 4K screen, it will blow any laptop out of the water too.
  • Same... I like the XPS15 but I just wish it had 2 in 1 support and also web cam on top screen. I'd get it instead if the XPS 15 had those.
  • I am glad I returned my 13 inch 2016 Spectre 13 x360. Even though I loved it... The battery drain of 12-15% per day when it was turned OFF was just too much. Getting this 15 inch Spectre x360 instead is a win win situation. Especially since this has discrete graphics, higher display resolution, ~20 nits brighter display, pen support, and micro SD slot. The 15 inch fixes/adds all the things I didn't like about the 13 inch. Even if the 15 inch turns out to have the battery drain when off too, then hopefully HP gets a solution for it soon. Even if it doesn't either way it will be worth that minor defect for all these features at this price.
  • I suppose it's to save space and keep the computer thin, but is that really worth it to exclude a socket for the stylus? Especially this one -- unlike the Surface, the stylus is included. I guess this must not bother most people, since it seems the norm these days, but that would be one pet-peeve with this system based the review. Still seems like a great system overall.
  • Yes it's worth it considering it's such a niche market that actually want a stylus. The average person buying a spectre does not.
  • I think more people will want the stylus as they see what it can do, especially with a 2-in-1 and handwriting and drawing.  I had a Yoga 710 with touch only for 2 weeks and while it was another great machine touch was nowhere as good as the stylus is.
  • While it's not in the computer there is a stylus loop in the included pleather sleee that comes with it.  Given the thickness of the laptop and the stylus I'm not sure where they would have put a storage area.
  • Wouldn't 5/5 be something that has no cons? That's what perfection represents. The weight is a massive problem for something that people would want to hold like a tablet.
  • Can you confirm that the thunderbolt 3 port is only using 2 PCIE 3.0 slots instead of 4 (meaining limited bandwidth to 16gbit/s?) 
  • We in the media briefing last week were told it's a full-spec'd 40GB Thunderbolt 3 port.
  • There have been some conflicting reports so far, but no one has stress tested it yet.  I was just reading this thread: https://www.reddit.com/r/Hewlett_Packard/comments/5qpwla/just_got_the_ne...​   In that thread, it looks like it "can" go up to the full 4 lanes based on one of the later HWinfo screenshot...but I'm not entirely sure either. It says that "Max link width" is 4x but is only "current link width" is at 2x (whereas the XPS 15 says shows a max and current link width of only 2x).    I wonder if it will do the full 4 lanes as long as you are not using any of the other ports??  That would be ideal since you can connect everything to the spectre using that single port via a TB3 dock (or the razer core!).  :)
  • Great review ! I'm definitively getting a spectre x360 soon ! As a graphic design student I'm a little bit torn appart between the 15inch model and the new pen-enabled 13inch version. I like the extra space of the 15inch but I keep thinking about portability too. Which one would you recommand to me ? love your reviews !
  •   Thanks and great review!  I'm glad to hear they put the better screen/keyboard/and speakers into this (over the last 15" model) and now they included the pen!  HP is really listening hard to is customers and I'm impressed!! It's interesting to see the choise of SSD.  Someone else posted their scores that were much better...but it was with a Samsung (also a 512GB model that he ordered direct from HP.com).  I hope BB gets the batch with the Samsung's!    Only thing I'd suggest is maybe compare this to the Surface Book (no performance base)...it probably has the closest performance comparison AND it's a 2in1 (with a different hinge).  The graphics cards are similar so people can see the many YouTube videos of people playing games with a similar spec'd machine.
  • I've got a unit I ordered from hp.com at the end of January and I've got the Samsung SSD Drive - Model MZVLW512HMJP-000H1.  Seems that HP is sourcing multiple vendors for the SSD's. Either way it's a stellar machine and easily the best in it's class.  I've been a Mac user for a LONG time (and that's where my heart lies), Apple better take note of this machine.  It's what Apple should have released in October.  
  • The one at a local Best Buy is showing a Samsung SSD...but their models are not coming with the USB-C dongles.  They are just coming with the pen, a travel sleeve, and the power brick.
  • Who cares if a 2kg 15" device is 2 n1? As a tablet it's useless, and advantage of 4x TB3 port is more theoretical than anything else. On the other hand, Dell XPS meets and exceeds all requirements of it's purpose, category and class, leaving almost nothing to add.
  • There is a lot to be desired with their keyboard and the audio....and the price
  • I've had it 2 weeks now (I think) and I've used it in the A frame position (it's awesome), the inverted position with keyboard down (makes an awesome machine in bed as the screen is infintitely adjustable, and as a tablet on my lap with the pen.  The junker Dell XPS 15 can't do that.  And this will outlast the Dell from a quality perspective. 
  • Non-PenTile = Fantastic! For those unaware, PenTile, more specifically RG/BW Pentile, replaces the RGB in each pixel with either only RG or only BW. It is commonly regarded to be a deceptive marketing practice. HP's 2016 Spectre x360 15t used it, and so did all of HP's other consumer-class 15.6" models that claimed the 4K resolution. Be aware that HP's Envy 15, Pavilion 15, and Omen 15, 4K options/models, seem to not yet have moved on from this, but this is certainly a very important step in the right direction towards total honest display advertising in the market. The HP Spectre x360 15t 4K, and Dell Inspiron 7000 4K are two laptops that have moved away from pentile and towards the full-RGB matrix. (though there's a whole 'nother issue with the FHD panels in the new Inspiron) More info here: https://www.reddit.com/r/Dell/comments/5jiwcg/psa_the_4k_uhd_3840x2160_d... Demo of pentile in the 2016 Spectre here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEz-zkxRTjM Proof the new Spectre uses a full-RGB matrix: http://forum.notebookreview.com/threads/2017-hp-spectre-x360-15t-uses-tr...
  • I got to see it and do that test image....it's definitely not pentile!  Heck, I knew it wasn't pentile the second I saw the clarity of the screen (before the test).
  •   I received my pre-order of the 1TB version on Friday - I still can't make my mind up whether to keep it. The GPU stuggles to keep the screen fluid in my experience, and can't output 4K at 60hz through HDMI. I wonder if the author could test it over USB C as I have to buy a new monitor anyway. If it can output 4K @ 60hz through usb3/thunderbold then I may consider keeping it. Otherwise I think I may return and get a surface book. The hinge design annoys me though, as you have to detach and retach to go between the 2 modes. No good if I have photoshop/illustrator open as it won't let the screen detach...
  • Edit - Did you check the settings within the display settings and the nVidia software to see if you could output @60Hz?  It's listed as HDMI 2.0, which means it supports 4k at 60Hz... If you buy a USB-c to HDMI dongle, you will definitely be able to do it at 60Hz.  If it doesn't work, then it's something wrong with your monitor...
  • I has a very bad experiencie con this machine: HP Spectre x360. Fail before a year. Neve wil be the same. From Chile.
  • I has a very bad experiencie con this machine: HP Spectre x360. Fail before a year. Neve wil be the same. From Chile.
  • Sucks for us here in the UK. Have eagerly been awaiting this and the price for the top end model is £1799! Thats the equivalent to roughly $2250! A price hike of $551 on the US price!  Is the RAM user replacable? I may go for the lower 8gb RAM 512GB SSD (Which is still £1499/$1874) and buy the RAM myself.
  • Yes the RAM is replaceable.  You'd have to google for the service repair manual from HP's website, but it was definitely replaceable. 
  • hey @Daniel Rubino Just got the 15 inch Spectre x360!  Any chance I could get your backgrounds?  
  • This is an awesome review. I think I've found a winner workhorse with the Spectre x360 (15"). Will pick it up this weekend to replace my Surface Pro 3. I will miss it, but the price of the Spectre is much easier on the wallet than the Surface series with comparable hardware. Dell's options lack  Side note: There's no harm in resurrecting a 5+ month old article, right? :D